Unable to match the Knicks’ size or physicality, the Spurs dropped their 2nd straight game in a 121-109 loss. Despite some pretty good outside shooting (by their standards, anyway) and their typical low turnover performance, the Spurs simply could not keep pace with a Knicks team that seemed unable to miss for much of the night. Led by R.J. Barrett’s 32 points, the Knicks relied on dominant offensive rebounding and sizzling outside shooting to decimate the Spurs’ defense.
In particular, the Spurs had no answers for the Knicks’ back up bigs, who combined for ## offensive rebounds, which paved the way for a decisive 21-8 advantage in second chance points. Even if the good guys had been able to control the glass, though, it might not have mattered all that much, because the Knicks also hit 18/38 from deep and 17/19 from the free throw line, advantages the Spurs are ill-equipped to offset.
- Derrick White continued his solid play of late, leading the Spurs with 26 points and 7 assists. He had a number of pretty plays, included a very nice 2 man game with Jakob in the left corner where he back cut away from the handoff then hit Jakob on a pocket pass for a layup. slid out. He shot 9/18 from the field, but had several shots just roll out.
- The Spurs’ defense was in trouble the whole night. Despite relatively good execution, the Knicks’ were too hot and the benefactors of too many lucky bounces for it to matter. The Spurs went to their zone defense late in the 2nd quarter. which was successful on the first possession but then gave up an open three on the 2nd. They also broke out full court pressure a couple of times, which forced an 8 second violation early in the first quarter.
- For long stretches of the game, the Spurs seemed to have the Knicks’ rim on lock down. With Jakob Poeltl patrolling the paint, there just didn’t seem to be any space in there for the Knicks to work with. But they kept attacking, and kept collapsing the defense. Jak was a force, but the kickouts and 2nd chance points those attacks created were the key to the game.
- Julius Randle was basically a no-show in the 1st half, scoring just 2 points in 17 minutes. But he came alive in the 3rd quarter, drilling 3 three-pointers in short order and finishing the game with 15 points and 7 assists and 6 rebounds. Notably, on a night where the Knicks grabbed 17 offensive boards, Randle didn’t have a single one.
- Keldon Johnson had a rough night. He injured his thumb on a drive late in the 1st quarter and had to go back to the locker room. He returned in the 2nd, but then rolled his right ankle back-pedaling on defense when he inadvertently came down on Jakob’s foot. That left him on the floor in pain and he had to be helped off the court. Still, there he was ready to play at the start of the 3rd quarter. Less than 2 minutes into the 2nd half, though, Keldon took a shot to the face on a drive and had to go back to the locker room again. That time, he didn’t return.
- In Keldon’s absence, Joshua Primo got some more run, logging 15 minutes, though he only took 1 shot and didn’t score. Keita Bates-Diop also sopped up some of Keldon’s minutes and sparked a bit of a run in the 3rd that briefly cut the lead down to 5, though the Knicks quickly regained control of the game.
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The Spurs will stay in San Antonio for four more games, leading off with two straight against the Denver Nuggets. The first of those contests tips off on Thursday at 7:30 PM CT on Bally Sports SW.